Buttercup

BUTTERCUP’S  STORY

Eileen Fawcett

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This details the ‘life’ of an inanimate object . . .

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As  I sat on the cracked concrete of the breaker’s yard, I knew the ending of my story; soon I would just be a crushed metal cube.  I was far from the shiny yellow Mini, which had once sat waiting for shipment to England, along with all the other right-hand drive cars.

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My first owner, Annabel, named me Buttercup and how she loved me.  She drove carefully and steadily and while I hummed along the roads, she would sing too.  She talked to me, ‘well done, Buttercup’, she would say after a trip out together and pat my gleaming bonnet.  She took pride in keeping me spotlessly clean and in tip-top condition.  I didn’t like it when her husband occasionally drove me – fast and impatient, crashing through the gears and jamming my brakes on.  I lived with them for years, parked out on the drive because his precious car, a snooty BMW, was housed in the garage.  When I went to a garage for my annual check up, Annabel sometimes had to drive the BMW and when I returned, she would say ‘Oh thank God, Buttercup.  I hate driving that big car.’   Then, one day, that horrible man her husband told her I had to go.  I was getting old and would start to become unreliable – better to get rid of me and buy another before that happened.  Annabel protested, of course she did, but husband prevailed and, tears in her eyes, she drove me one last time, to the garage.  I didn’t watch as she drove away in the new car; I just sat miserably on the forecourt.

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My heart sank when my next owner climbed in the driving seat for a test drive.  A young man, Jake, who had only just passed his driving test.  But I need not have worried; he was no boy racer.  At first, he was very nervous about driving on his own and built up his confidence by driving me round quiet suburban roads on early weekend mornings.   Our first outing was nerve wracking.  He had driven me into his small garage, and he couldn’t find reverse gear to get me out again.  With each attempt,  I got nearer and nearer the back wall and was convinced we would crash into it next time.  But finally, he reversed me slowly out and edged slowly along his road.  I gained a couple of minor dings from his early sorties, but he slowly grew more competent at driving and we started going on longer trips.  His friends mocked him about my lovely vibrant colour, but he just laughed and said that at least other drivers could see him coming and keep out of his way.  But then a girlfriend arrived on the scene and she didn’t seem to approve of me – and I found myself back on the same garage forecourt, traded in for a trendy open top sports car.  Much  though Jake and I had got on well together, he never knew my name and left me behind without a backward glance.

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I was on that forecourt for a while and my price was dropped – did nobody want me?   One sunny May day, I heard someone say ‘Oh look, Maggie, a bright yellow Mini.  I think that would suit you’.  Maggie and friend drove me round the block, chatting merrily as they went.  ‘Yes, I’ll take it’ I heard her say and a week later, she and I were bowling away to her parking space outside a block of flats.   I was heartbroken when Annabel left me and I had liked Jake – but Maggie, well, she was my absolute favourite.  What fun she was, a lady of a certain age, you might say.  Her driving left something to be desired and we did acquire a few knocks, but the places I saw with her!  My mileage shot up as we drove hither and thither in the UK – she was always out for an adventure.

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And then came the biggest adventure of all – a trip to France with Maggie and her equally lively friend Rosie.   I hadn’t been on a ferry before and was worried as men onboard beckoned Maggie further and further forward – my goodness, we were packed in like sardines on that lower deck.  I was alert all night as car alarms went off all round me and dogs, locked inside, yelped and barked.  What a relief to be driven off in the pearly morning light.  ‘Keep right, keep right’ Maggie muttered to herself as we drove through the streets of the small town and then out onto a dual carriageway.  Everything was exciting and different.  I saw sights I had never seen before; fields of sunflower and endless vineyards, towns and villages with very narrow cobbled streets (more dings)and finally, the blue sparkling Mediterranean.  Here, I had a rest as Maggie and Rosie went to the beach every day and grew brown under the hot southern sun.  I sat in a car park surrounded by foreign cars in sombre colours.  ‘Looks like a post van’, sniffed a French car. ‘ Bit scruffy, isn’t it’ responded an immaculate German model.  ‘Well, I quite like it’ said a Spanish car, even more battered than me.

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Once home again, I sat a long time outside Maggie’s flat without seeing her.  It was only when I found myself for sale again that I learnt Maggie had fallen ill and, at least for the time being, could no longer drive.  I was desolate – no more fun trips with Maggie, and who would want me now, old and battered as I was?  The garage did its best to spruce me up, but I was definitely showing my age.  And so my last buyer found me – Susan, who needed a car for her job as a trainee reporter but had little money.  ‘A banger will have to do for now’, she sighed.  I tried my best for her but I couldn’t help it –  things were going wrong inside me and I kept breaking down.   I didn’t blame Susan for not loving me, though I did feel a bit upset at being kicked and called names.  Finally, Susan got her big break and moved to London and time had run out for me.